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44 Tips for planning a Super Bowl party

Molly Cerreta Smith loves writing about all things mommy, parenting, food, health and travel. When she's not staring into the face of her Mac, she loves to hike, read, do messy crafts with her kids and compete in BBQ competitions with he...

Super party ideas

Super Bowl is perhaps the biggest game day of the year, so why not celebrate? Host a super fun, laid-back football fete with these tips and tricks. Here are 44 ideas to help you host a perfect pigskin party!

Football Salsa and Chips

Party planning

1. Decide what type of party you want to host -- you don't have to stick to the basics. Think outside the box and host a creative theme party.

2. Send out invites and ask guests to RSVP at least one week ahead of time so you can get an accurate headcount for food, etc. Instead of spending a fortune on invites, send out a simple (and free!) evite from evite.com.

3. Decide on the menu. Do you want to serve just appetizers, burgers and dogs, or a fancier, more inspired menu?

4. Solicit the help of a few close friends to help make a few easy appetizers or desserts.

5. Ask guests to dress in their favorite teams' colors and/or jerseys.

6. Designate a sober driver or two who can drive tipsy guests home.

Prep


7. Decorate food tables with simple and fun centerpieces, such as vases of grass with a mini toy football on top.

8. Clear out your fridge a few days before the party to allow room for all the new supplies you'll be stocking up on.

9. Freeze pint glasses a few days before game day.

10. Clean house two days before so you can have one day before the party to rearrange things and prep food, and the day of the party to set everything out and decorate.

11. If you can prepare some food items ahead of time, do so the night before. Many dishes such as potato salad or cream cheese rolls actually taste better after they've had a chance to chill in the fridge.

12. If you are serving cocktails, pre-make a few pitchers so you don't end up playing bartender all night.

13. Set up food stations on buffet tables or folding tables. Maintain a flow by keeping appetizers with appetizers, entrees with entrees, dessert with dessert, etc.

14. Set up a beverage station with a bucket of beer on ice, a variety of wine (be sure to set whites on ice) and your signature cocktail.

Supplies

15. Don't pull out your fine china for this event. Use serving plates that match the casual attitude of the occasion.

16. Check out a party supply store for football-themed party supplies. Party City even has supplies specific to each NFL team.

17. Or, save yourself the time of picking and choosing each and every party supply item and order a Super Bowl party kit from Birthday Express.

18. If you'd rather save time on cooking, pick up appetizer items in bulk such as pre-made from a place like Costco.com.

19. Save yourself the hassle of cleanup and stick to paper plates and napkins, and plastic utensils.

Food/Drink

20. Aside from the main food tables, set out some small bowls of crackers and cheese, crudités and nuts around the football-watching area so guests can nosh if they don't want to risk getting up and missing a play.

21. Don't forget a few easy Super Bowl standbys such as chips and dip.

22. Make brownies (a box mix such as Ghirardelli's is a fantastic shortcut), cut them into the shape of footballs and use white icing to make the laces.

23. Make some special snacks for the kids, such as mini corndogs or pizza rolls; don't forget some healthy options like apple slices and carrots with a yummy yogurt dip.

24. Prepare some easy yet delicious dishes with some inspiration from websites like Kraftfoods.com, Snackpicks.com or the Food Network.

25. Be sure to offer drink choices for guests who don't drink and for the kids -- such as water, tea, juice etc. You could even make a yummy punch that adults and kids alike will slurp down.

26. Consider making a beer cocktail to maintain the casual theme of your party – check out this link --  -- for some simple and creative recipes.

Entertainment

27. Offer some form of entertainment aside from the football game -- a deck of cards or an easy, fast-moving game that multiple people can play, such as Boggle (but spice it up by challenging guests to find only football-related words).

28. When it comes to halftime, get guests up out of their La-Z-Boys for a little fresh air and toss the pigskin around outside until the third quarter.

29. Be sure to provide some kid-friendly activities. Supply a few soft and/or foam footballs, and set up a small kid table with crayons and a few new coloring books from a store like Dollar Tree.

30. For the kids, fill a football-shaped piñata from Target.

Game day

31. Decorate your home with both teams' colors.

32. On the day of the party, rearrange furniture to make for the best viewing for multiple guests.

33. Set up a separate party area for your anti-football party guests to gather.

34. Cover tables with a fun, themed tablecloth to eliminate the need to wash tables off after the party.

35. When guests arrive, organize a simple squares betting pool.

36. Designate an area for coats and purses, and, when you take guests' items, make sure they know where their things will be in case they need them when you are not available.

37. Take pictures! You'll want to remember this event for a long time to come.

38. Enjoy the party. You've worked hard to prep everything, so don't get stuck pulling kitchen duty or cleaning up as you go. Just relax and be a part of the party. There will be plenty of time for cleanup later.

Post-party/clean up

40. Make trashcans accessible so people clean up after themselves as they go.

40. If people brought their own containers of food to serve, wash them out and return them as your guests are leaving. If there are leftovers, ask the guest if she wants them or if she wants to share them with other parting guests.

41. Send people home with leftovers so they don't go to waste (and so you're not stuck eating cocktail wieners for the next week).

42. f you do end up with leftovers (such as unopened bags of chips), take them to a homeless shelter. Freeze any half-eaten portions.

43. A few days after the party, send friends a quick email thanking them for their attendance and participation if they brought a dish. Be sure to include a picture or two, or send them a link to the entire album from Facebook or Shutterfly.

44. Make it an annual affair -- and vow to make next year's Super Bowl party even better than this one!

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